Imparting a Passion: A Challenge to Youth Workers
The following is a lightly edited transcript.
I want to begin by asking you a question that comes from the book of Acts. When your present generation of students graduates and leaves your group, or when you leave the group that you’ve been ministering to, will you be able to say what the apostle Paul says in Acts 20:26? He’s talking to the leaders of the church in Ephesus where he has spent a couple of years. “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did no shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
I did not shrink from declaring to you young people the whole counsel of God. I am innocent of your blood as you graduate from high school. Have you even set a tone where a statement like that could even be heard with any seriousness? Would that sound so strange coming out of your mouth, “I am innocent of your blood young people?” Would that sound so strange that I’m given the way you minister to them that you wouldn’t even dare to say such a thing, because it would sound so screwy in their heads, let alone be true because you have devoted yourself for about six years or three years to delivering the whole counsel of God to them?
Teach the Whole Counsel of God
That’s my challenge to you is that you would go home and develop a plan two, three, four, six years to impart to your students the whole counsel of God so that when they graduate at the banquet or the send-off, you might say with all earnestness, “Your blood is not on my hands.” There’s another way to put it, two other ways to put it. One would be Romans 6:17, where Paul says, “Thanks be to God that you were once slaves of sin, but have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were handed over.”
The Greek word tupos is translated standard here. “Thanks be to God that you have become obedient from the heart young people to the tupon didaches — the type of teaching, the standard of teaching to which I handed you over week after week after week, and you have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching, the whole counsel of God to which I have imparted you. And not just imparted to you, I have led you to it, and I’ve led you to it week after week. Your blood is not on my hands.
There’s a third way to say it from 1 Timothy 6:20, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you.” We have a third word for it, deposit [paratheken] a treasured thing deposited in you and then you deposit in others. “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you.” Then in 2 Timothy 2:2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of any witness, entrust, same word in the verb word, the deposit to others who have able to teach others also.”
Now, you have three words that are your charge in ministry. Have you imparted the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)? Have you imparted the students to and handed them over to the type of teaching, the standard of teaching, and have you guarded the deposit in you and then imparted the deposit to them? Do you have in your mind and in your heart a counsel of God, a totality, a wholeness, a unity, a coherence, a body of divinity that you mean in this generation to impart to the students so that they have it when they leave?
Students Who Burn for Christ
Why would you want such a thing? Why would you want to have it? Why would you want to impart it? Why would you want to hand them over to the type of teaching, the standard teaching? Why would you want to pass on a deposit, a body? One answer to that question would surely be that you want them to burn for Christ, burn for Christ. Where does that come from? It does not come from singing. It comes from the truth we sing. You can get hands in the air in a minute with the right crescendo, but what about when they suffer? What about when they’re rejected? Will they embrace it? Will they burn for Christ when there’s no notes playing, no CDs, nobody else around, just rejection, just suffering, just sickness?
Will they burn? That’s the only kind of young people you want to breathe. Who cares about the rest? It’s the kind we want to breathe. You want to breathe burning young people who burn when they suffer for Christ. Suffering surely must be the mark of post-9/11 youth ministries. Surely in this world if not any other world, you must breathe sufferers for Christ. They are ready. They are ready; call them to it. Model it for them doing the hard thing.
I get this burning idea from you know where; I get it from the road to Damascus. Those disciples walking with Jesus began to burn. They said so in Luke 24:32, “Did not our hearts burn within us? Did not our hearts burn within us when he opened to us the scriptures?” Do you do that for them? The whole counsel of God, the only burning that will last is Bible burning. Bible built into their lives the whole counsel of God the standard of teaching, the deposit will burn within them, but very specifically it says earlier in the chapter, “He opened to them the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets concerning himself.”
We want our young people to burn for Christ, and so we show them how to find the glory of Christ in the Bible. We make Him look really good from the Bible, which is God’s word. The best displays of Jesus are in the Bible. The reason you want to impart a whole counsel of God is so that your students will burn with it when they suffer, which you’re surely calling them to do every day at school, and hopefully someday on the mission field or in some vocation where it will not be easy to be a Christian.
Youth Ministry that Fuels Burning Hearts
How do you do it? I’m going to make five suggestions. For how do you do youth ministry so that you breathe young people who burn for Christ when all around their lives, he alone stands, and everything else falls away. That’s the young people we want. When all around my souls gives way, then he is all my help and stay. He’s the only kind that make any difference.
1. You must go to the Word and think about it until it burns in you.
You must become meditators on the Bible. You must become students of the Bible. You must think about the things of the Lord. You must think about texts. I mean think, think, think about them until they burn in you. You must take the most familiar phrases, and instead of blowing over them, linger over them for an hour until they burn. You must come at them from every angle. It was very interesting what you said about the wings, this third pair of the wings of the Seraphim, so that they could continually get new angles and glimpses at him.
At least that’s what I interpreted you to mean when they fly with their eyes shielded from his glory, and their feet protecting his glory from their contamination. They’re soaring all around him to see different angles of Him. You must do that in the word, or you’re going to be boring on Sunday morning. You know when you’re boring, and that’s when you start doing cute things, and it will not make them burn, so you can’t be boring. You won’t be boring if you stay with the Bible until it burns. The problem is we’re lazy. We think only certain can be exciting about the Bible.
The Bible is basically boring. A few people have the gift to make it exciting, but we do cute things. Look, the Bible is the most radical, wild, crazy, unbelievable book in the world. All you need to do is believe it. Believe it with all your might. I think it was 2 Sundays ago now, I was preaching a mission sermon, and it’s because of our mission’s conference. The text was Luke 9:52–60, where there’s three people come up to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go,” and Jesus says, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Then the next one who says, “I’ll follow you, and first, let me go bury my father.” “Let the dead bury their dead. Follow me.” The third one says, “I’ll follow you wherever you go. First, let me go say goodbye.” “You put your hand to the plow, and look back. You’re not fit for the King.” This is not boring. This is crazy. You don’t recruit disciples like that, so I had to think on this. I thought of it all Friday. I thought of it part of Saturday trying to think, “How do I say this to my people so that I can recruit missionaries ready to lay down their lives among Muslims who don’t want them, to come?”
It’s all in the phrase “follow me.” I just spent an hour or two thinking about the meaning of me. It’s a staggering thing when the Son of God, the creator of the universe, the most mighty, powerful being in all of reality says to you, “Follow me, me, me, me.” We just lingered on the “me.” Then you put the two together. You got a person and you got a path. Look, who would think that the phrase “follow me” could be lingered over for hours until it burns in you, and you can make them burn with it, and so my first plea for you is to be Bible-people.
Get into the word. Read it very slowly. Memorize it to slow you down, and then come at it from every angle as you fly around it under it, over it, beside it. Draw it up. Stretch it up. Penetrate in it. Get it. Don’t let it go. Grab it like Jacob grabbing the angel, and, “I won’t let you go until you burn in me so that I have something to burn with tomorrow.” That’s the way I preach. That’s the way I try.
2. Pray over this word until it burns in you.
I am so encouraged by the psalmist, because he struggled just like you and me with his half-heartedness and his coolness towards the things of God in the word. Therefore, you find the psalmist pleading with God for his soul over and over again. I’m going to give you a little acronym — IOUS. This is the way I pray over the Bible almost every day especially when I’m drifting into coldness instead of burning. If I go cold, my people are going to go cold. If you go cold, your youth will go cold, and you’ll try to beef it up with other stuff besides God and His word.
I: Psalm 119:36 — Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to getting gain.
Plead with God to bend your heart to the word. You get up Saturday morning or Friday morning, whatever you prepare, and you feel like watching a ball game, or you feel like going fishing, or you feel like hiking, to you feel like riding a bike, or you feel like looking at pornography, and you don’t feel like reading your Bible to get ready at all.
What do you do? Plead with God to incline your heart. That’s what you do. Get on your face and say, “O God if you leave me in this condition, I’ll have nothing. I’ll be a useless worship leader or a useless youth leader. O God, take my heart and incline it, bend it, chain me to you less that I wander away from you. Fetter me, O my God to yourself, and bend me into your word.”
God loves to answer that prayer. He does it for me over and over again. You think pastors don’t wander in their minds and in their hearts away from a love for the Bible. It is war. It is war to keep loving the Bible. Saying this against you, your flesh is against you. The world is against you. You must fight like heaven in order to get there.
O: Psalm 119:18 — “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of your word.”
I prayed that this morning for you, for me. I got up early, and I was reading my Bible. I’m reading through the gospel of John right now, and I read, “Peace I’ll leave with you. My peace I give to you.” Notice the word give. Let not your heart be troubled, either let it be afraid. I paused, and I said, “Lord, open my eyes to see this.” If you say, “I just don’t have a gift. I don’t have the gift to make things interesting from the Bible. I don’t have the gift to take a text like that, and for twenty or thirty minutes get young people to listen to me. I just don’t.”
How do you know you don’t? Have you ever cried out to God, “Open my eyes to see what this peace is?” It is his peace, the peace of the maker of the universe. It is given. It’s not earned. It’s not like anything the world could ever give. Don’t have any fear. Don’t be afraid. If you cannot take that text, and stagger your young people with it because they’re all scared to death, why do you think they dress the way they do? Because they’re scared to death of not fitting in. They’re all scared.
This texts come with a megaton of relevance for them if you help them feel the sweetness of being able to be like a dolphin in the sea instead of a jellyfish of conformity. You know you can do this. If you cry to God, he won’t leave you without help. If you love Him, if you want Christ to be exalted in them, and have them burn to pray, “Incline my heart through your testimony. Open my eyes to see wonderful things in my peace I give to you.”
You won’t see it the first time you read it. That’s why the psalmist prays these things. I don’t see it the first time I read it. I don’t feel anything the first time I read that text. I’ve got to plead with him, “Help me, help me, help me. Open my eyes. Create some spiritual correspondence between me and the living God who upholds the universe that’s revealed in that text.”
U: Psalm 6:11 — “Unite my heart to fear your name.”
John Piper’s heart is so fragmented so many times. I’ve been thinking about, “How can I pay for college tuition?” I’m thinking about my wife and my little girl in Barnesville, Georgia, and they’re having a good time with her in-laws, and I’d like to be there too. I’m thinking about how in the world am I going to do Romans 9 on Sunday, because half of you are just going to want to walk out when I explain what this text means?
My mind on a Wednesday morning in a hotel room is just it’s all over the place, and so was the psalmist’s. Otherwise he would not have prayed, “Unite my heart to fear your name.” You ever experienced like that? Be glad you’ve got the Bible to show you what to do with it. You cry out to the Lord, “Unite me.” I am just amazed at how many Christians experience distress either in difference to the word, or blankness when they read it, or fragmented hearts, and they come in to ask a pastor for counsel for their spiritual life, and you ask them, “Have you cried out to the Lord to incline your heart?”
“Have you cried out to the Lord to open your eyes? Have you cried out to the Lord to unite your heart?” They said, “Well, not really cried.” I say, “Well, why don’t you do that for an hour, and then come back next week? Let’s see what happens.” We are so given to quick fixes instead of pleading with the almighty God, “Make me. Change me. Mend me. Send me.” We must pray.
S: Psalm 90:14 — “Satisfy me in the morning with your steadfast love.”
That’s the burning I’m talking about. Satisfy me with you, not with success. Satisfy me with you, not with my wife. Satisfy me with you, not with the approval of the kids. Satisfy me with you, not with sex. Satisfy me with you, not wealth, not revenge, not comfort, not nice neighborhood. Satisfy me with you. Everybody must cry that every day, because our hearts are straying after other values all the time. All I’m saying here is you have to go to the Bible until you burn.
You have to pray until you burn, because the main battle of youth ministry is in you, not in them. The main battle is in me for my people. If I will burn, if year after year after year, I can burn with truth, well seen, and well said, they will burn.
3. Think about their lives until this burning in you connects.
Think about pimples. Think about overweight. Think about flat chests. Think about athletics. Think about sex. Think about style and clothes. Think about parents and divorce. Just get inside their skin.
As funny as this conference has been, humor is of limited value. It has some value. Then there is wonderful difference between whole-bodied humor and light-hearted levity. One of the reasons we use humor so much, I think, in youth ministry is because it’s so easy, and because it makes us think we’re succeeding, because if you get the audience to laugh, then you know you’ve connected with them, and then you feel a little bit secure.
If nobody’s laughing, then you don’t really know what they’re feeling. I just want to say it’s a very limited value, very, very limited value. These problems they have, the world has some strategies for helping people manage their problems. It’s just to massage them and help them feel good, and all down here is the subterranean fear, the subterranean insecurity, the subterranean anger. The Bible is full of answers. It’s full of glorious solutions, and full of empowerment for those problems. Somehow or other, without being gloomy and morose, and boring, we must be utterly blood-earnest with our kids.
They must know this youth ministry has got a wonderful sense of humor, and man, is there flame in his eyes. Man, does he believe in hell? Oh, does he see glory in heaven! Jesus Christ to him is not just a person. He is the Lord of the universe. Young people are wired by God in His image to need magnificent visions. Nobody in the world is giving them those.
One of the reasons we like the movies we like, one of the reasons movies are so big, so much blowing up is because we’re wired to want something big and explosive, and dangerous, and radical, and urgent, and church is just so boring when in fact, that’s boring. Those are the teeny-weeny explosions that you can see on the screen, those little teeny-weeny things that go to the universe, even that great Lord of the Rings thing that I’m going to go see again this Christmas is so small, is so small teeny-weeny little experiences, and yet we go there because we’re wired for something big, and that’s the best the world can offer, and we have Christ. Find language for Christ. Find pictures of Christ. Most of them are in the Bible, and you just need to display them for what they are.
4. Find language that stabs and pierces and jolts and awakens.
I just simply say work at this. You might say, “Well, I’m not a poet, and I don’t have those gifts.” Have you tried? Supposed you’re going to talk about joy, do you spend thirty minutes thinking of alternative words to that boring word?
Joy is not a teenage word. Happiness, maybe. Pleasure, maybe a little closer. Do you devote energy to the language and the phraseology of your life and your ministry? I would just say try. Work at it. Find language that shocks them. That’s why I wrote Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. I chose the word hedonist for that very reason. Number one, it’s absolutely true. Number two, it shocks. That’s my fourth suggestion.
5. Get at the God-centeredness of all truth in the Bible.
It is amazing to me how we use familiar Christian language thinking we know what it means. We and they, if they don’t know, they don’t know what they mean. I’ll just give you some examples. Forgiveness, we sing and we celebrate. We teach the glory of forgiveness. Who cares about forgiveness? Really, did teenagers give a rip about forgiveness? Yes, they do if you help them see why it’s important. It isn’t important in itself. It has zero significance in itself.
The only reason forgiveness is of any value at all is because it gets something out of the way so that you can have somebody back, right? If I get up, and I’m really cranky with Noël as I walk out of the bedroom, she’s still in bed. I’ll say, “Why didn’t you move this? I asked you to move it last night?” It’s over for the day. The day is ruined between us two. I have just ruined it. I need to be forgiven so that I can have her back.
I come into the kitchen. She’s standing there with her back to me, manifestly back to me at the kitchen sink, and he’s clearly washing very vehemently these dishes, and I’m on the other side. I don’t want it to be that way. I’ll walk over. I don’t want to kiss her on the back of the neck and have her go, “Hmph.” I want her to turn around, and say when I say, “Would you forgive me? That was a stupid thing to say. I’ve done so many things myself. I shouldn’t said it. Let’s make this day better. Would you forgive me?”
I want her to turn around and hug me, because hugs matter. Forgiveness doesn’t matter. Hugs matter. Forgiveness is it needs to get something out of the way. You teach that. You find their relationships that they want. You know what your teenager wants. You know the relationships they want. It might be a mom. It might be a dad. It might be a friend. It might be a girlfriend, and you use whatever is appropriate, but then you tell them, “You care about the forgiveness of God? I doubt it because you don’t love Him. Your craving is not to have Him back, and you make Him vibrate.”
You figure out, do you sing about forgiveness here, because you want Him back? He is so precious. He is so valuable. You want Him back, and sin is in the way. That’s just one illustration of language that we use and we leave it empty of significance, God-centered significance. I’ll give you another illustration. Justification, once I give you truth through the illustrations, you can go all of the rest of them yourself.
Who cares about being justified — being counted righteous with the righteousness of the Jesus Christ? We say that it’s all that’s good news. So what if it’s good news? How is it good news? Now, I’m considered completely sinless, because Jesus is my righteousness. Boring, boring! How is that good news? Teenagers aren’t going to hear that as good news.
The only reason justification is valuable is because you can’t stand in the presence of God as a sinner. Then the question is do they want to stand in the presence of God? All of these are pushing us back to God’s centeredness and whether or not they’re really saved, whether your students are saved. Most of them aren’t saved probably. They don’t love God for God. They love God a little bit because he fixes things. He might fix a relationship. He might fix my complexion. He might fix my figure. He might get me a job. He might get me a marriage.
That’s not a Christian talking. That’s a worldling talking using God for the same values that the world has. It’s not Christian. I think that’s what most of our young people are, and so we must drive them back to take sanctification. Who cares about being holy? Unless, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall finish it. See God. Maybe they don’t want to.
Sanctification isn’t going to be attractive to them, because the only reason you’re sanctified is because it makes you pure enough to see God, but they don’t care about seeing God. They want to see their latest star or friend. They’re not coming to church to see God. They’re coming to see Joe.
Or eternal life. Is that exciting? Maybe not, it might be eternally boring as far as they’re concerned. I thought eternal life was boring when I was nine, ten, eleven years old. I was scared to death of life. I was scared of hell. I was scared of heaven. I didn’t want to go to either one. Hell hurt, and heaven was boring. I wasn’t interested in either one. Why? Because I wasn’t loving God, because Jesus says, “This is eternal life that you may know me and Him who sent me. Know me. Know me, Jesus says, and Him who sent me.”
Faith, adoption, just take all these wonderful words, and go right to the heart of the God-centered meaning of them. Let me actually close with one illustration that has meant most to me in the last year or two. I think we need to labor like crazy to help our young people know what it means to be loved by God. In America, it is almost impossible for a young person to know what it means to be loved by God, and probably for reasons that you’re not thinking right now.
Love God for God
What does it mean for you to be loved by God and for young people to be loved by God? The way to get at it is to ask a question, and then go to one text as we try to draw on this together. The question is this. Ask them this, because this will make them feel frightened, which is what most of them should feel from time to time. Do you feel more loved when God makes much of you or when He grants you at great cost to Himself to enjoy making much of Him forever?
Do you feel more loved when God makes much of you or when He grants you at great cost to Himself to give you the ability to enjoy making much of Him forever? We live in America where the gospel of self-esteem, which the comedian last night got so right, where the gospel of self-esteem is the universal panacea for all teenagers’ problems, and every book you read almost helps you say now you can solve the loneliness problem, and you can solve the relation problem.
You solve the parent problem. You solve the whatever problem if you just fix their self-esteem. I think that is so low, so underneath the gospel because it is not love horizontally, and it is not love vertically. I’ll give you my definition of love, which I think comes from the Bible. Then I’ll show you where it comes from. For God to love you and to love your young people, and the same thing would be true horizontally when you take that love and bend it out, God labors and suffers to enthrall you with what he is infinitely and eternally satisfying. That’s love.
God labors, and He suffers to enthrall us with what is infinitely and eternally satisfying namely Himself, not us. You are not created to find your salvation in front of a mirror liking what you see. That is not salvation. Salvation is taking that mirror and pushing it out to forty-five degrees so that you can in it see God, and be delighted in God, and satisfied with God, and God slaughtered His Son so that you might enjoy him. That’s salvation.
And all the pieces — forgiveness, justifications, sanctification, eternal life, faith, adoption — are words for how to get to God as our treasure. Therefore, day in and day out, you must impart a body of divinity that has God at the center so that these students by the Holy Spirit and through prayer and through the word begin to love God for what God is in His beauty and magnificence, and all the gifts of God simply become rays of His like, and their eyes run up the ray into the source instead of falling in love with the ray.
Most of the things that kill our kids are good things gone wrong, and if we would just see them as goods given by God, and let our eyes run up the beam into the giver so that we can see the glory from which they came so that we love Him, then we’d be able to burn when we suffer.
God’s Glory and Our Joy
Let me just close by taking you to John 17. This is the prayer of Jesus. I presume you would agree that this is a prayer of love for his disciples. He’s praying for us according to verse 20. I don’t pray for these only, but for those who believe on me through their words. Here, he is praying for John Piper and all of you two thousand years ago. I’m sure he’s praying the same thing today as he intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand.
What does he pray first when He is loving us? Verse 1: “When Jesus has spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” The first thing he prays is outrageous. Get your kids to feel the outrage of this prayer. He’s praying for himself and His own glory to be magnified and made much of.
Get your kids to feel the problem there. That’s a problem. Would you pray that way? I’ve come in in front of the youth group today, and, “O God, the first thing I want to pray for my youth group is that I would be glorified, that I would be glorious in front of my youths. Help them to feel the outrage of this prayer.” Then they might meet Him, because he’s not like anything they’ve ever known.
He doesn’t pray like anybody they’ve ever known, because only one person can pray this way. They don’t know Him. They just heard all these little catch phrase, and nobody’s helped them get to the Christ-centered core of the love of Christ for them. Christ loves them for his sake. Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you since you have given authority over all fresh to give eternal life to those whom you have given to him, and this is eternal life that they know you and me, the Son that you have sent.
Verse 4: “I glorified you on earth having accomplished the work you gave me to do, and now Father, glorify me in your own presence. The beginning of His prayer for us is a prayer that his glory would be great.” Isn’t that outrageous? Isn’t that vain? Isn’t that self-centered? Unbelievable. I think young people are ready to see the Bible. I think they’re ready to be shocked by the Bible.
The Bible is so staggeringly shocking if we would see what’s here. Jesus is doing something nobody in the universe dared to do because the Bible says, “Love seeks not its own.” Here he is seeking his own at the very moment when He’s loving us most absolutely. What can this mean? What can it mean that the love of God or the love of Christ for me is Christ’s prayer for His glory?
The answer is given at the end of the prayer in verse 24 and following: “Father, I desire that they also whom you have given to me may be with me where I am to see my glory.” The huge challenge in youth ministry is to so teach, to so pray, to so live, to so sing that your young people will be thrilled that Christ has prayed the ultimate prayer for them that they might see his glory.
Many of them are not there. They’re not excited about that. Our challenge — and it may take years — is to so take this word, where the glory shines most fully, and to so pray over it, and to think over it and to so find words for it, and to speak it so that they begin to see Christ as their treasure. In our church, I am laboring to help get beyond the clichés of, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
That’s a quotation from the Bible. How can you talk about that as a cliché? The reason is simple. Does anybody know what believe means? Believe for what, as what? You say, “Well, he’s the Lord and Savior.” I want to add a third one, because Lord and Savior are worn out. Do you trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior when he baptized you? It’s so worn out that we must find other words, and one of the words that I’ve been pressing in on is — and this is my evangelism — do you trust Jesus Christ as your treasure?
Ask your young people: Is he your treasure more than your clothes, more than your reputation, more than your toys, more than your CDs, more than your whatever? Is he your treasure so that when everything else is gone, you have everything? To live is Christ and to die is gain. Call them to treasure Christ so deeply that they will be able to burn because he is theirs and they are his when everything is lost. Both parents are killed in a car wreck.
I want to build a church and a youth ministry that is preparing people to suffer, preparing to suffer, because, and I’ll end where we ended in worship, and I so thank you for saying it namely, God means for us not just to sing, but to be sent.
Compassion, this is a great package you got here. The children, one child at a time, you go work, the two of our young women are going over to work with AIDS orphans in Zambia, Uganda, Cameroon, and they risk their lives, because I know they’re going to pick him up. I know they’re going to hug them. I know they’re going to feed them. Where did you get that? Where does that come from? It comes from this:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill,
His truth abide us still.
I am the truth and the way and the life. They’ve got a treasure in Jesus that outstrips everything in this world. I think our young people are ready to be called to something radical, so teach them to sing radically. Teach them to love radically. Teach them to witness radically. Teach them to get on the streets radically. Teach them to go with Compassion or other agencies radically.
They’re ready to stop being cuddled. Give them something impossible to do, because it’s worth losing everything to know Christ, and make it now. Amen.